This is the way we bake a cake, bake a cake, bake a cake …

..on a cold and frosty Tuesday afternoon…

The best part of blogging is blog-hopping and coming across some wonderful blogs. Yesterday, reading R’s Mom’s post mentioning cakes, had me drooling, and longing to bake.

I haven’t been baking as much as I used to, so just needed a push. R’s Mom mentioned Seema, and I hopped over to hers, only to end up spending half a day drooling over her delicious recipes. Some of her Bengali recipes reminded me of my childhood spent in the houses of my Bengali friends.

After a lot of drooling, and sighing, I came across this zebra cake. I have always loved marble and zebra cakes. I remember eating marble cakes a long, long time ago, and wondering how they manage to assemble the cake with the two colours! One of the first cakes I tried out successfully was a marble cake. Since then I have tried a variety of recipes for marble/zebra cakes. One of my personal favourites was one made with oil instead of butter, but I managed to misplace the recipe. Rather, I don’t remember which website I had consulted to make the cake. So when I came across Seema’s zebra cake with oil, I just had to try it.

Given that I had spent the best part of the day, drooling at recipes, so I had just about enough time to whip up the batter, and get it to the oven, assuming everything went as per schedule. Just as I was measuring out the oil, it dawned on me that I was out of sunflower oil. Oil is one of the sparingly used commodities at my place, so I had forgotten to buy a new bottle. Thankfully I had some olive oil, and added that along with the sunflower oil, sending up a prayer that it would turn out fine, despite my experimentation. Finally the cake batter was in the oven, I had more than an hour on my hands before I had to pick up daughter from school. So I got busy sorting out the rest of the house – which, as usual was a complete mess. At the end of the 40 mins in the oven, as per the recipe, my cake was still wobbly and certainly not cooked. I kept checking every 10 minutes, until the time that I absolutely had to leave to pick up daughter. One part of the cake was done, the other one was not! My oven had really let me down. There was nothing I could possibly do apart from switching off the oven, and leaving the cake in there – and hope, against hope.

It was an hour and a half by the time we got back(daughter had an after-school activity). I opened the oven, full of trepidation. The house was smelling wonderful, but that is hardly any indication of the state of the cake! The cake was cooked! Now I just had to wait until the cake cooled completely to cut it and check it properly.

See how the cake looks all lopsided 😦 All thanks to the uneven heating of the oven. 

Much to my surprise, it tasted and looked quite good inside! Certainly not the prettiest cake or anything, but the stripes were not too bad. Every zebra has unique stripes, they say, mine certainly were unique:) Check these out! Not too bad, don’t you think, after everything that went wrong?

Love at first bite

I don’t have much to say about love at first sight, but I can sure tell you about love at first bite – that happens – happens to me all the time!

One of the many things that I fallen in love with – at first bite is the brownie. The first time I came across brownies was during my first trip to the US. Needless to say, this love for brownies did result in a huge increase in my own weight, but that never deterred me from gobbling them down.

There is something about brownies that I love – the chewy, fudgy chocolatey taste. And what tastes better than a warm brownie served with vanilla ice-cream, topped with nuts and chocolate sauce? That is what I plan to serve to my guests tomorrow. And may I present to you, my first successful attempt at brownies?

I had tried making them a long time back, in Bangalore, when we had bought our first microwave cum conventional oven. Those days, no matter what I did, my brownies turned out more like biscottis. Although that never stopped my team from gobbling it all up – which was a huge relief for me. Somehow I never tried making them since. I have no idea why I never made them before.  Today, I was racking my brains trying to figure out what to make for dessert for dinner tomorrow, when I remembered brownies! So anybody care to share? Daughter has already QA’ed it for me and given her stamp of approval.

In case any of you are interested, the recipe from here. The only change that I made was to include pecans instead of the chocolate chips. You could add walnuts too – we just happen to prefer pecans.

Sweet smell of successful baking

That’s what my house smells like today 🙂 I experimented with bread for the very first time – thanks to Crafty’s suggestion in this post about the most fantastic looking french bread rolls from bakingbuddies ! I’m ecstatic! I’m jumping around in pure joy 🙂 It came out not too bad for a first-timer.. especially given the fact that I , very ambitiously tried to make a braided roll. It is not as beautiful as I would have wanted it to be – but it’s good enough for me 🙂

Well, here’s my story in pictures 🙂 I would love to be able to capture that smell! Its smelling like a bakery 🙂 Let me enjoy that smell while you take a look at the pics 🙂 I am so excited that I am posting this at 11:30 in the night.. I never do that – I am total morning person – but I can’t wait to show off 🙂

Cooling on the wire rack

Here it is cooling on the wire rack – both daughter and I are standing next to it jumping in joy 🙂

Ready to serve

Not very professional looking  – but it sure made my day 🙂

Sliced and ready to eatSliced and ready to eat 🙂

It does taste wonderful – even if I say so myself 🙂

If that was not enough – we also baked cupcakes which was decorated by daughter – hence the pink 🙂 Don’t they look garish? I wanted to do chocolate – but madam likes pink.

cupcake